Following the contentious passing of legislation that mandated a contract and made any kind of strike action illegal, thousands of educators in Ontario took to the picket lines on Friday, the first day of an indefinite walkout that has shut down schools around the province.
Numerous members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents school board employees, protested in front of Queen's Park and outside the constituency office of the education minister in Vaughan, Ontario.
Along with the picketers, there were also members of other unions, such as Unifor and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
Bill 28, a piece of legislation that forbade 55,000 CUPE members from striking, was passed on Thursday by the progressive conservative government. The bill also employs the notwithstanding clause, a legal device that has only ever been employed twice in the history of Ontario, both times by the governments of Premier Doug Ford, to defend against constitutional challenges.
While announcing that it would continue until the government repeals the law, CUPE claims that the measure is an assault on the collective bargaining rights of all workers.